Gallery: The Food Lab: How to Make a Turkey Porchetta

Turkey Porchetta
Turkey Porchetta

Deeply seasoned, easy to slice, juicier than any turkey breast you've ever tasted, bone-free, and covered in crisp skin: If the best flavor is what you're going for, this is truly the ultimate Thanksgiving roast.

Make the Rub
Make the Rub

Garlic, peppercorns, fennel seed, sage leaves, red pepper flakes, and salt go into the food processor to make the cure that gets rubbed onto the turkey

Check out the full recipe for more detailed procedures.

Prepare the Breast
Prepare the Breast

You can start with a whole turkey if you want to use the legs for a different preparation, or start with a whole turkey breast. All you'll need is a boning knife and some butcher's twine.

Remove the Skin
Remove the Skin

This is the most difficult step. The goal is to remove the skin in as large a piece as possible. Work slowly to gently pull away the skin from the whole breast without tearing or puncturing it.

Use Your Knife
Use Your Knife

You'll probably have to use your boning knife occasionally to help gently pull the skin away from particularly stubborn spots.

Done!
Done!

You should end up with a large piece of skin that is roughly square in shape.

Pull out the Wishbone
Pull out the Wishbone

Next, remove the wishbone by cutting along both sides of each branch of the Y-shaped bone with the tip of your knife.

Pull the Wishbone
Pull the Wishbone

The bone should pull out easily once it's been cut away. You can use a clean dish towel to help get a grip on the bone if it's too slippery. Save the bones for the gravy.

Cut out Wing Joints
Cut out Wing Joints

Use the tip of your knife to cut through the ball joint where the wings meet the breast bone.

Remove Meat
Remove Meat

Remove the breast meat from the carcass using your hands.

Keep Going...
Keep Going...

I find it easiest to use my fingers to do this, working the meat away from the bone with my fingertips and thumbs.

...and Going.
...and Going.

You can also use a knife if you find that easier.

Trim the Skin
Trim the Skin

Trim off any large pockets of fat from the underside of the skin using your knife.

Ready to Roll
Ready to Roll

Lay the skin out with the outside down and stretch it as wide as you can.

Butterfly the Breast
Butterfly the Breast

Lay one breast half on top of the skin, remove the tenderloin (it should come off with no knife required) and set it aside for another use. Then using your boning knife, butterfly the thicker side of the breast half and fold it outwards so that the whole breast lies relatively flat.

Flattened Breast
Flattened Breast

Repeat with the second breast half and you should end up with a relatively even layer of breast meat on top of the skin.

Slash!
Slash!

Make a series of diagonal parallel slashes about an inch apart in the meat, cutting into the flesh about half way through, then make another set perpendicular to the first.

Rub
Rub

Rub the prepared cure into the flesh, making sure to get it into all of the cracks.

Lay it Out
Lay it Out

Lay out the meat along one edge of the skin. This is the edge that you'll start rolling from (in this picture, it's laid out against the right side).

Let's Roll
Let's Roll

Start rolling by picking up using the skin to lift up and roll the turkey like a jelly roll. Work slowly to try and keep things as neat and tight as possible.

Tuck it In
Tuck it In

The skin should remain on the exterior the entire time (not rolled in with the meat), which means that as you get to the far end, you'll have to tuck the turkey into the roll and pull the skin over it.

Seal it Tight
Seal it Tight

Try and get the edges of the skin to overlap as much as possible in order to keep the roll nice and tight. Let the roll rest on its seam while you get ready to tie it.

Start Tying
Start Tying

Tie off the turkey at 1-inch intervals. You can use fancy butcher's knots with one long piece of string if you know how, or just use a series of individual pieces of string laid out at 1-inch intervals and tied using simple granny knots.

Keep Tying
Keep Tying

Tie the turkey along its entire length to help it retain its shape as you cook it.

Ready to Roast
Ready to Roast

Tie it once the long way, tucking in the edges of the skin to try and keep everything enclosed nicely. For best results, season the turkey at this stage and let it rest at least overnight and up to 2 nights loosely covered in the refrigerator to cure. You can also use all the discarded bones to make a gravy at this stage.

Sear it!
Sear it!

Sear the turkey on all sides in a hot cast iron skillet using some canola oil until it's well browned on all sides. Transfer the turkey to a low oven (about 275°F) and roast until it hits an internal temperature of 145 to 150°F.

Remove Twine
Remove Twine

Use a set of kitchen shears to cut through and remove all of the twine.

Ready to Carve
Ready to Carve

Because you cooked it at a low temperature, resting time before serving is very minimal. You can basically carve it straight away if you so desire.

Slice...
Slice...

It's completely boneless, so carving even slices is a snap. Slice the turkey at 1/2-inch intervals using a sharp carving knife.

...and Serve
...and Serve

Serve the slices along with some homemade gravy.